In June each year, just as winter blows onto the west coast near Whanganui, sheep farmer Richard Redmayne (above) heads out on a lambing beat. It's early for lambs, but this sandy, free-draining land stays warm and dry and, in four months from now, he knows some of his four thousand lambs will be ready for processing.
Richard Redmayne is a farmer with a penchant for marketing which sees him putting young lambs on New Zealand supermarket shelves for a 12 week period, from October until January.
He started Coastal Spring Lamb in 2010, and it's grown from providing just a few thousand lambs then, to 30-thousand lambs this spring. To cope, nine other southern North Island farming families are now involved in the project.
Traditionally these lambs would have ended up overseas but Mr Redmayne's managed to get the supermarket chain Foodstuffs to carry this seasonally specific product for the next five years.
But isn't all this customer contact and selling stressful? "Not stressful, stimulating. It's been a lifelong dream to combine the business of farming and marketing our product from our family farm."
The lamb is on the menu in some top end restaurants but Richard says he's careful not to over supply any one city so some excitement and exclusivity remains around the product.
Wellington's Logan Brown chef and co-owner Shaun Clouston (below) says he has been using the tender, sweet, gentle tasting spring lamb for three seasons. "I love it. It's like asparagus or bluff oysters, you look forward to it arriving."
Richard and Suze Redmayne with in store tasting for Coastal Spring Lamb.